Record sales of pickups and mid-sized sedans boosted Chrysler Group sales by 5 percent in March, extending a string of consecutive monthly sales increases to 36.
Chrysler reported U.S. sales of 171,606 in March, its best month since December 2007. Sales were led by Ram pickups, up 25 percent to 33,831 and nearly outselling the entire Chrysler brand.
Both light-duty and heavy-duty Ram pickups were re-engineered for 2013.
Several cars also set all-time monthly sales records, including the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Avenger sedans. Production of both vehicles is scheduled to end in January, and they will be replaced by the redesigned Chrysler 200.
The Dodge Challenger also set an all-time monthly record, while the Jeep Compass and Fiat 500 set records for March.
Ram brand sales were up 24 percent for the month, the best of the automaker's four main brands. Dodge sales climbed 15 percent, Fiat sales were up 3 percent, and the Chrysler brand's sales fell 2 percent compared with March 2012.
Jeep sales continue to struggle, reflecting the loss of the Jeep Liberty. Production ended in August, and the model will be replaced this summer by the 2014 Jeep Cherokee.
Sales of the Grand Cherokee, which was re-engineered for 2014, were down 10 percent for the month. Wrangler sales climbed 3 percent.
Because March of 2012 was Chrysler's best sales month of the year, some within the company doubted Chrysler could keep up its string of year-over-year monthly increases in light of model changeovers.
Chrysler spokesman Ralph Kisiel said retail sales had been running flat with last year for most of the month. But sales accelerated during the last week of March and through the Easter weekend.
The company said it finished the month with a 66-day supply of unsold vehicles. c